October 12, 2002
7:00 PM   Subscribe

“President Bush’s case against Saddam Hussein ... relied on a slanted and sometimes entirely false reading of the available US intelligence, government officials and analysts claimed yesterday.” Another article on the same subject says, “Rumsfeld’s recent remark that the United States has ‘bulletproof’ evidence of links between Al Qaeda and Hussein struck many in the intelligence community as an exaggerated assessment of the available evidence.” One paper explains the differences this way, “The C.I.A. has to maintain its credibility for objective estimates. The White House is mobilizing the public and preparing foreign nations for a potential American invasion of Iraq.”
posted by raaka (44 comments total)
Let's see. The issue here doesn't seem to be so much the factual intelligence as the interpretation.

Tubes for centrifuges that could be used in nuclear weapons production? Guardian's sources say check. Whether they'll be used that way, only inspections can tell.

Unmanned aerial vehicle capability? Guardian's sources say check. Bush didn't actually say American territory; it's enough to threaten our allies and assets in the region, and demonstrates an Iraq that continues to seek offensive capability.

Senior al Qaeda guy in Baghdad? Guardian's sources say check. What did he do and who did he talk to while he was there? Who knows? But is it a good sign?

So, the article fails to demonstrate that the administration has falsified the evidence; only that they have found people who don't like the reading of the evidence, which has largely been provided by the policy arm of the government, i.e. the White House, on the basis of their interpretation of the credible factual evidence provided by agencies such as the CIA.

I suppose we could always wait for another smoking hole in the ground, if you prefer. Or are these the signs that a future congressional commission will say we missed? This administration is clearly not willing to bet that way; and regardless, they have Congress, the public, and enough of the UN behind them, that the burden of proof is going to be on the Iraqi regime as to whether they are compliant and safe enough to be permitted to re-enter the international community -- which is the way it should be.
posted by dhartung at 8:16 PM on October 12, 2002

I can't wait for the day Iraq beats the U.S. in World Cup Soccer.
posted by insomnyuk at 8:22 PM on October 12, 2002

dhartung, you and I must be reaching different articles at the end of those links... that's the only way I can figure it.
posted by ook at 9:19 PM on October 12, 2002

Statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.
- "Chronicle of Young Satan"

The public has swallowed the lies, and half truths the Bush administration told, and now we wait to see if Saddam lets the weapons inspectors do their job, and take away whatever weapons he has, and then we wait to see if Bush believes Saddam has let them destroy all his weapons. If Saddam wants to get the best of Bush, he lets the weapons inspectors destroy everything he has, and then Dubya has nothing left to gripe about, and Saddam gets to keep being a scumbag who treats his countrymen, and women like shit. I loath both of these men, one for being a crazy fucker, and the other for being a tool of a system that will do all it can to destroy one evil fuck, but doesn't care that other countries have crazy murdering fucks in charge too. BTW, Al Qaeda hasn't forgotten how to blow shit up, and they seem like a real threat, but we are going to spend 200 billion dollars to get rid of someone who isn't an immediate threat. Sorry I needed to vent, it's late, I'm drinking, and my gf has a headache, so I'm frustrated.
posted by jbou at 11:09 PM on October 12, 2002

The interpretation of intelligence is a particularly ironic issue in the wake of revelations about field agents "connecting the dots" and being shut down by career bureaucrats and arrogant leadership. The more things change...
I love the arm-waving, oogga-booga routine from the hawk camp, as though the threat from Iraq were somehow miraculously discovered by the brainics in the White House. I wish just one of them could be forced to provide a candid answer to a few questions, like:

What do you intend to do with troops that get doused with biological toxins? Are they going to be readmitted ointo the U.S.? Will you keep them in Iraq? How much will their treatment cost us?

What's the plan for soft war scenarios, like having possibly hundreds of dead Iraqi children in the streets of Bagdhad being splashed all over CNN when we engage in urban combat? What about U.S. soldiers being dragged through the streets?

This idea sucks--and blows. But why bother with logic when it's so much easier to ride the tide to war.
posted by Tiger_Lily at 11:25 PM on October 12, 2002

All right, DrunkFilter! Some of my best anti-Bush rants have come under the influence... None on MeFi, though.
posted by UKnowForKids at 11:26 PM on October 12, 2002

dhartung aside, the rest of you are those same people who whine about the theory that US officials had all this evidence of an attack on the WTC staring them in the face and did nothing about it.

Now you want evidence evidence evidence proving that Saddam is an evil tyrant with evil intentions.

Number one: What type of evidence are you experts looking for?

Number two: What makes you think that YOU deserve to see it?

will do all it can to destroy one evil fuck, but doesn't care that other countries have crazy murdering fucks in charge too.

Yea... ok. I've heard this before too. Let me get this straight. You and your cohorts would feel much better if we were taking on ALL of the evil tyrants in the world at once? I don't get this argument about "Saddam isn't the only one" crap.

And Tiger_Lily, what do YOU think they should do about those things? It's war. War is full of horrible aspects. Trying to justify keeping from going to war because a dead guy might get mistreated on TV is pretty naive. That's like cancelling a week-long trip to the Bahamas because it might rain one day... but why bother with logic.
posted by Witty at 12:40 AM on October 13, 2002

I certainly don't need you to remind me that "war is full of horrible aspects". Since when is the expectation that the ramifications of warfare are thoroughly and candidly addressed before we proceed 'anti-war' anyway?
When expecting rain bring an umbrella. When invading a nation you'd damn well better have verifiable proof that the threat to your nation's security is both dire and imminent. Hussein's threat to the U.S. may be dire (if provoked, and assuming the weapons cache he possesses is stable enough to be used by his troops). It is not, however, imminent--at least not without the threat of invasion.
The credibility of whatever intelligence this administration has clearly leaves something to be desired. Why else do you suppose our retired generals who've actually been in Iraq think it's neither warranted or a fabulous idea? Have you more courage than they? Are your better versed in Iraq's military capability than Generals like Schwarzkopf or Clark? Even our intelligence communities have balked mightily at the notion. Director Tenet has warned against this folly. Do you have information unavailable to him or his agents? Why do you suppose he'd come to the same conclusion as our retired generals (who've been liberated to speak honestly as Americans with some very valuable experience in this area)? You people slay me.

As for the legitimate portion of your post: I think a policy of containment alone is not necessarily sufficient--but containment combined with the effort of giving the U.N. some believable teeth would certainly be effective on all levels--militarily and diplomatically. We don't live on this planet alone (in spite of most Americans' painfully self-involved perspective).

Hawk bravado is nothing more than fear disguised as courage. They're petrified and so they'd prefer to act irrationally, because they're hoping to instill fear--the very fear they're crippling their own minds with. It's lame, it's cowardly and it's dangerous. We're more than capable of creating viable options outside of the spectre of invasion.
posted by Tiger_Lily at 1:20 AM on October 13, 2002

Senator Bob Graham, the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has a column in today's WaPo that is worth reading.
If this were 1938, the course advocated by the president -- and endorsed in the congressional resolution -- would be the equivalent of the Allies' declaring war on Mussolini's Italy but ignoring Hitler's Germany. We are turning our backs on the greater danger, and pretending not to recognize that an attack on Baghdad could spark the wake-up call to the terrorists sleeping in our midst.
posted by homunculus at 10:39 AM on October 13, 2002

"Why beholdest thou crazy murdering fuck that is in thy brother's eye, But considerest not the crazy murdering fuck that is in thine own eye?... " - Zorp 3:16
posted by quonsar at 10:54 AM on October 13, 2002

he rest of you are those same people who whine about the theory that US officials had all this evidence of an attack on the WTC staring them in the face and did nothing about it

Well, no, actually. While it's clear that there were major failures in both intelligence-gathering and decision-making before 9/11 -- failures which need to be corrected -- I don't think we can conclude the attack was preventable (short of major changes in our middle east policy, which is a whole other dicussion.) Hindsight's easy, but foreign policy wasn't high on the priority list during the Bush-Gore election for example. (Nor was Bush exactly an expert on foreign policy. Presumably he's got people for that, now, though.)

Number one: What type of evidence are you experts looking for?

Credible evidence. Right now we have a lot of out-of-date, misleading reports being pushed hard by the group with the agenda, which many of the real experts in the CIA and the military dispute. Not good enough. Not by half.

Number two: What makes you think that YOU deserve to see it?

I live in a democracy. What makes you think that we don't deserve to see it?

America wasn't founded on "shut up and we'll do what we think is best for you." Of course I don't expect the white house to mail me a dossier every time they need to make a decision -- but when the white house resorts to tactics like blocking the CIA from briefing Congress before the vote, things begin to smell rather sulfurous. It's one thing to expect the people to be satisfied with incomplete information, but

Look, for the love of god, nobody is arguing that Saddam is not a bad, bad man. We all agree he's a complete asshole and the world would be better off if he didn't exist. Where we disagree is the manner in which we cope with the fact that he does exist. I happen to think invading Iraq is going to cause a lot more unstability, and ultimately be a lot more dangerous to our interests, than a continued policy of containment, sanctions, and inspections. Many people in Congress, the military, and the intelligence agencies think the same thing. Maybe we're all completely wrong -- but we as a nation should be making the decision based on the actual evidence, not based on slanted, falsified, agenda-pushing propaganda.

You and your cohorts would feel much better if we were taking on ALL of the evil tyrants in the world at once? I don't get this argument about "Saddam isn't the only one" crap.

Speaking for myself only -- I don't have any cohorts, just a wife and a golden retriever -- of course we shouldn't invade every tyrannical nation at once. The existence of an evil tyrant is not sufficient justification for invading his country, that's my whole point. We can't be isolationists, we have to deal with them, but the methods available range from diplomacy to sanctions to trade agreements to military action to just plain waiting until they die of old age. The point of the "Saddam isn't the only one" argument is not that we should invade everyone -- it's that, given that there are so many problematic nations out there, why have we singled out Iraq for such special attention? Pakistan poses a much greater potential threat to the US: they're one coup away from being an islamic theocracy with ICBMs pointed at the US. (I'm talking worst-case scenario, of course; I don't expect that to happen unless, say, we were to raise tensions in the area by launching a full-scale invasion on a nearby country.) Iraq, by contrast, is far weaker than it was during the gulf war, has zero nuclear capability -- the worst it could do is maybe lob some nerve gas in the general direction of Israel. Which is a threat, yes, and something that needs to be dealt with somehow -- but all things considered it's a relatively small threat. So the point is why are we wasting so much attention on this small fry?
posted by ook at 11:22 AM on October 13, 2002

lost part of a paragraph there. Oh well. Probably clear enough what I meant. Quonsar said it better, anyway. As usual.
posted by ook at 11:24 AM on October 13, 2002

Gotta laugh at this really. George W(armonger) Bush wants to kill Sadam - that's it, end of! The 'evidence' is only a means to make him look slightly less of the obvious fruitcake he really is. It's not meant to be believeable, it's not meant to stand up to scrutiny. The sole job of the 'evidence' is to give Bush soundbite material.

Please, remember that this war is not about justice, freedom, terrorism or anything else like that. It's about Bush seeing a chance to kill Sadam. Let's not over analyse it kids :) Bush lost track of OBL and it seems that OBL has managed to escape, Bush is looking for some form of result from the WTC attacks. Can't kill OBL, let's see, who else is on my shit list. Bush has even resurected a US airman fer Christ sake.
posted by DrDoberman at 12:39 PM on October 13, 2002

One of the things that frustrates me most about this debate is that pretty much everyone seems to have tacitly agreed that we will only discuss one of the five accepted criteria for a just war. The criteria are:

-having just cause
-being declared by a proper authority
-possessing right intention
-having a reasonable chance of success
-the end being proportional to the means used

By and large, the debate has only been about the first criterion ("Is Saddam so bad we should blow his ass up?") but we ignore the others. The things is, Saddam is so bad we should blow his ass up; where Bush's proposal falls short is on other criteria.

The second criteria is tricky, because technically, in this country, we + the Constitution are the proper authority; Congress derives its power to declare war form rule of law and us. But since most Americans don't support the war, the fact that Congress passed Bush's resolution means that, already, Congress has failed in its charge.

The third criterion sounds much like the first one, but it's subtly different. It rests on the question of what we plan to do during the war, and after. That is, it's not enough to say that Saddam is that bad and his ass should be blown up, but we also must ensure that our leaders aren't just using Saddam's badness as an excuse to start a war in which victory for us will yield results which benefit certain parties beyond the war's originating just cause. In short, it's difficult to tell whether Bush plans to do this to destabilize Iraq, or to set up a puppet government friendly to U.S. interests, or to open a gaping hole in the entire MIddle East that would tip the balance of power our way, allowing our oil companies the upper hand, or if it's just flat-out revenge for unfinished business in the first Gulf War.

The fourth criterion is important here because history demonstrates that, with Iraq and Saddam, we don't stand a great chance of regime change, which is our stated goal, nor are en entirely assured of winning a war that would result in regime change. Historically, such wars have failed (take Vietnam, for example. Or take the fact that we still have not got Osama, a man with lesser resources and manpower than Saddam.)

The fifth basically means "don't overdo it." And that's a problem here as well, since we overdid it that last time. We used nuclear weapons in Iraq, causing radiation disease amongst countless Iraqi children. Our record in Afghanistan is also not too good, us bombing weddings and all.

Saddam is evil. But I feel we'd be doing greater evil by destroying Iraq to save it.
posted by eustacescrubb at 12:54 PM on October 13, 2002

The second criteria is tricky, because technically, in this country, we + the Constitution are the proper authority; Congress derives its power to declare war form rule of law and us. But since most Americans don't support the war, the fact that Congress passed Bush's resolution means that, already, Congress has failed in its charge.

Most do support the war. This might change, but the support hasn't dropped below 50%.

Your third point is up to debate. I tend to give our government the benefit of the doubt, but that's me.

I can't agree with your fourth point as, and I think most agree, the US will have little problem changing the regime with a concerted effort. Vietnam was a lesson in how not to do things that I think our military has learned quite well, as well as our civilian leaders. They are certainly reminded of it enough.

Your fifth point has been answered before. Depleted uranium shells are not nuclear weapons. Even WHO says much more research needs to be done before you can declare that they do any damage via their radioactivity.

I enjoyed your link to criteria for a just war though. It made for some fascinating reading. Thanks.
posted by Plunge at 1:24 PM on October 13, 2002

Well, if you believe Gulf War II is about "weapons of mass destruction" (it's the oil, stupid) than you probably believe that Gulf War I was about "the protection of Kuwaiti democracy" (which never existed). At least we had a moral leg to stand on in the last war because Saddam started it. Even hardcore conservatives I know (and there are a lot of them) think invading Iraq right now is a bunch of "Wag the Dog" bullshit.

It doesn't really matter anyway. All the conservatives trying to shove Pax Americana down our throats haven't read too much about the Roman Empire it seems. It won't work. It never has.

What have we learned since 9/11?

Al-Qaeda is still very much alive and well despite bombing the shit out of Afghanistan. The U.S. economy is still in the toilet, despite Bush and Cheney constantly screaming "Iraq, Iraq, Iraq!". Congress is still a bunch of spineless pussies. The mainstream media still kisses the Presidential ass, just like they did with Bill Clinton.

Please feel free to gloat, consevatives. Enjoy your war that will get our soldiers killed while accomplishing nothing whatsoever and running the U.S. economy further into the ground at the same time. I hope you're happy.
posted by mark13 at 2:12 PM on October 13, 2002

Run the economy further into the ground? It's in the ground now? Thanks for negating your own credibility yourself. The economy isn't rosy, but it's not a depression, and barely a recession. Try again, please.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:20 PM on October 13, 2002

Most do support the war. This might change, but the support hasn't dropped below 50%

A 53% figure from a poll no one asked me to take will always fail to convince me that the "majority" of the nation favors war. If the figure were 75%, it might begin to do so, but I nitpick.

The print version of this article contains a single compelling photo, of a very, very young Afghani casualty of last November's bombing. In the intellectual and political debate regarding the merits of war vs. non-war, this really is the only thing that counts in my book.

Let's put Dubbya and Hussein in an arena with a couple of Uzzis and let them duke it out. (Then release a man-eating tiger to finish off the survivor.)

Don't like that idea? How about this one?

Oh, and Mark - I almost agree with you. I think the kid wants his own war, 'cuz Daddy got one.

posted by mirla at 2:29 PM on October 13, 2002

I am looking forward to the no-war-is-justified crowd going apoplectic when this war begins; is over in a few weeks; few American soldiers die; less than 5000 Iraqis die (that's probably a one-year Saddam Hussein quota), and the Middle East becomes a better, more peaceful place (particularly as a major source of funding for suicide bombers in Israel is cut off).
posted by ParisParamus at 2:44 PM on October 13, 2002

ParisParamus- It is true that the economy is not in a recession right now, we are in a recovery. It has been very unstable, though. And economic growth has slowed (I believe it was 5% in the first quarter and around 1.2% the 2nd quarter.) The point is, and most would agree, that going to war with Iraq would stunt this growth, being so fragile, and possibly cause a double dip recession. Bushy, we'd like more focus on the economy, please.
posted by culpable at 2:56 PM on October 13, 2002

eustace, I applaud you for bringing a more reasoned argument to this site than many; like Plunge, I disagree on the individual conclusions. Certainly I do not feel that we, as a secular nation, are bound by Christian just war theory, though it may certainly inform the decisions of individuals.

I heavily dispute the loaded labeling of depleted-uranium shells as "nuclear weapons"; at worst, they are passively radiological. That was a cheat. Without derailing the thread (it was discussed before, as you linked), radioactivity exists in our daily environment; merely being radioactive is not sufficient cause for labeling something dangerous.

mark13, as Fareed Zakaria said this morning on Meet the Press, if it were "just about oil" the easiest approach for the US would be to give Saddam an oil deal he can't refuse in return for inspections and the lifting of sanctions. We certainly can't, as the progressive moralizers keep reminding us, claim we won't deal with odious leaders.

The WMD problem is real; after 9/11, we can't claim that the terrorism problem isn't real. One doesn't need to believe in Pax Americana -- which isn't the same thing as an empire, by far (and anyway, the Romans maintained theirs for, depending on how you measure, 400 to 800 years) -- to see a looming security threat for the West in a swathe of failed states teeming with a failed populace, despite oil welfare. The choice to go to war, in the end, will be Saddam's -- we are only ensuring the threat of force behind agreements Iraq made long ago with the allies (armistice) and the UN (inspections).

The only point on which I'll fully agree with you is the timing. I don't think it needs to be now; I'd be happy if they'd set next winter as the target. And the Bush administration has certainly failed to completely avoid the taint of politics (at times, they have embraced it). Fie for that, but it doesn't change the fact that the job needs to be done. There are a variety of reasons, some of them more attractive than others, some of them more concrete than others, and as may be expected with such things the attractiveness does not always match the concreteness. In the end, it isn't a matter of dealing with an amputation as avoiding one by dealing with the gangrene. There's little hope this situation will get better all by itself -- and waiting imposes its own risks. The sanctions debate demonstrates that amply: many would rather free up Saddam to develop all the WMD he can afford, just because he's ensuring that his people suffer so he can afford an army, a bevy of palaces, and whatnot. That situation puts him in the catbird seat; one can almost make the argument that the WMD problem is trivial by comparison, but that simply excuses a tyrant, a parent-killer pleading for mercy as an orphan.
posted by dhartung at 3:01 PM on October 13, 2002

Another thing,ParisParamus, most likely Iraq will be an in and out war. This isn't the Gulf War. There are different objectives, we do not have the same support from Allies and Iraq's neighbors. This is going to make the war a little more complex. And if we go into Baghdad, I assure you there will be a lot more than a few American casualties.
posted by culpable at 3:10 PM on October 13, 2002

sorry, meant to say not be an in and out war.
posted by culpable at 3:11 PM on October 13, 2002

Don't like that idea? How about this one?

I've read that one before and I don't think many would oppose it if you could get the security council to actually implement it.

The Security Council would create a powerful, American-led multinational military force, the inspections-implementation force, that would enable the inspection teams to carry out "comply or else" inspections. If Iraq refused to accept, or obstructed the inspections, regime change - preferably under a United Nations mandate - would be back on the table.

The only part of this I would change would be the "be back on the table" wording. I think you need a resolution that is all inclusive, spelling out exactly what would happen if there was any interference with the inspectors. That way there is no need to go back and rehash the issue.

Good links. Thanks.

Personally, I think President Bush is trying to get rid of any person or country that could in any way threaten the US via terrorism. I think that 9/11 was so overwhelming that he is trying to insure that such an event will never happen again. I'm not so jaded as many that say it is all over oil. I'm also near the point of refusing to discuss it with people as there is no way to prove or disprove such a subjective argument as to what is the "real" reason President Bush is pushing this so hard.

I do appreciate those that can have a polite (heck semi-polite even), reasoned discussion about the actions that have taken place and those that might happen in the future. The vitriolic attacks on each other I can do without.
posted by Plunge at 3:19 PM on October 13, 2002

Any attempts to read Shrub's mind leads to nothing more than conjecture, but some may be giving him a bum deal. Perhaps this is partly due to his Daddy getting a war and him wanting one too, but it may also be that Shrub thinks Daddy screwed up and he wants to do it right.

We shoulda taken out Saddam a decade or so ago, when we had the chance. Physically we were there. We coulda sent in a team of people. We were already bombing Bagdad. However, we were getting closer to hitting Bernard Shaw than we were Saddam Hussein.

Politically it was not plausible at the time for Daddy to do it. Shrub's making it clear that when it comes to finishing what his Daddy started, he could care less about the U.N., but he's painting himself into a corner.

If he takes out Saddam, it's going to increase tensions worldwide, because no other world leader will feel safe. Tick off America? You might be next. This CAN work to our advantage in the future, but you don't bring a gun to the dinner table. There's a distinct difference between negotiation tactics with diplomacy and with firepower. One risks becoming the very thing one is trying to stop - leadership from the barrel of a gun.

If he doesn't take out Saddam, it just sends a message inadvertently to anyone with interests against America and her allies that one can literally get away with murder. I'm reminded of the movie "Air Force One" with Harrison Ford playing president. He made a speech on his own, without the agreement of his cabinet, that America would no longer tolerate any form of leadership in the world that led its people from the barrell of a gun. Doing that puts America in the dangerous positition of officially and indefinitely playing World Police, even more dramatically than it is now. Forcing those leading from the barrell of a gun not to do that anymore, from the barrel of a gun. Kinda reeks of hypocrisy. "You can't go around shooting people and expect to lead your nation! Because that's precisely what we're trying to do to you!"

It works in the movies, cuz you got Harrison Ford playing president. It doesn't work in real life. I'm afraid Shrub has seen that movie and others like it one too many times.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:40 PM on October 13, 2002

grotesque self-deception.

You folks that believe the war with Iraq is justified are just sad, you know Bush is doing this for all the wrong reasons, and you just brush aside the fact that Saddam is not a danger unless we attack. Anyone that believes that Iraq is going to turn into Japan sometime down the line is just as delusional as Wolfowitz, all the free markets in the world are not going to stop zealots from being zealots, and as long as America keeps exploiting people in the name of democracy while profiting from the exploitation, the zealots will have all the ammo needed to keep recruiting people to blow themselves in the name of Allah. Too bad Israel can't go it alone in the Middle East, because it would be nice just to leave them alone.
posted by jbou at 8:39 PM on October 13, 2002

I'm loving these lucid, cogent arguments like the one above. Well thought out, full of factual evidence with a wonderful dearth of speculation and supposition.

How refreshing...

--end sarcasm
posted by Plunge at 9:06 PM on October 13, 2002

Fine you want facts here you go, this war has a lot to do with oil, and this link pdf, check out chapter five, also this link. The US rarely if ever goes to war to actually help people, they do it to gain wealth, this has been known for a long time. The sanctions argument is flimsy considering others have blown off the UN for years. Even a few conservatives can't see why this is a good idea, and an old marine says not now. I figured everyone knew what I know, the arguments against attacking Iraq have been floating around Mefi, Plastic, and even Fark, or are you refusing to examine any refutations to what Bush is telling you?
posted by jbou at 9:46 PM on October 13, 2002

Woodrow Wilson tells it like it is. It's all about money.

Woodrow Wilson said in his book, THE NEW FREEDOM:

"Who has been consulted when important measures of government...were under consideration?
"The gentlemen whose ideas have been sought [by Congress] are the big manufacturers, the bankers, and the heads of the great railroad combination. The masters of the government of the United States are the combined capitalists and manufacturers of the United States. It's written on every intimate page in the records of Congress, it is written all through the history of conferences at the White House, that the suggestions of economic policy in this country have come from one source, not from many sources...

"You will always find that while you are politely listened to, the men really consulted are the men who have the biggest stake--the bankers, the big manufacturers, the big masters of commerce, the heads of the railroad corporations and of steamship corporations...

"Every time it has come to a critical question, these gentlemen have been yielded to and their demands have been treated as the demands that should be followed as a matter of course.

"The government of the United States is at present a foster child of the special interests. It is not allowed to have a will of its own."

posted by jbou at 10:14 PM on October 13, 2002

The fact is, war, in and of itself is stupid. Only the stupidest of us want it. In which case it no longer is "war" in the mind's eye, but rather something that John Williams writes a score to. War is stupid. It derives itself from that which is reptillian with a connected neocortex full of strategy. War is what is needed to control not only this rogue dictator in Iraq, but also to control the American people, the common people of the world. There are no other worries, there are no other issues, there are no other matters, because those aren't the matters of they who dictate the climate of the commoner. The commoner is akin to a worker bee or an ant. None of you here who support this "war" actually support war. Because if war were in your back yard it would be repulsive and you would do everything you could to have it cease, be that through your own warmaking and shedding of blood because it is your country that is under attack or through the direction that you flee from it. What does this war do for you? Why in god's green Earth do you believe that each of our little takes, made as we're safely tucked away in nowheresville USA, are somehow more bonafide than those of the hectored Iraqi from whom we hear not a peep?

War is indubitably waged by those who share no concern with the commoner. If you can wage a war against a, for all intents and purposes, defenseless country, you can also wage one on the dissenters and the underclass at home. Humanity becomes expendable. It is already! The only way to make the world more safe is to make it more HUMANE!!!!!

Get it through your skulls, war makes all of our lives meaningless if in fact we are party to and consent to our own nation-state that wages it against another people.

I might add, this is corporate tyranny.
posted by crasspastor at 10:31 PM on October 13, 2002

jbou -- That is why earlier I talked about the fruitlessness of this kind of discussion. He said, she said, they said, he heard, and a bunch of tenuous links to things written, spoken or heard.

Most of these articles are based pure speculation or opinion with each side of the argument reading and agreeing with what they want. The amount of unnamed sources on each side of the argument is wonderful as well. I've read each one of the articles you mentioned, some a long time ago and if you wish, I can supply a list just as long supporting my point. Here. Another good one here. A link showing both sides. There are more and more, they go on and on.

Arguments about the reasons for the war are too numerous to count. It all boils down to whom you wish to believe. Arguing about the reasons for the war are pointless.
posted by Plunge at 11:01 PM on October 13, 2002

Plunge, you linked to blogs, of course those are opinions, and the opinions of people who are just regurgitating what the President has said. I gave you links to well respected news sources, and former military leaders, your links hardly compare. When a former President like Woodrow Wilson admits it's all about serving big business doesn't it at least make you pause, and think this is just sad?
posted by jbou at 11:19 PM on October 13, 2002

jbou-- Sorry, but your guardian article was pure speculation. You gave a link to the governments energy plan, okay, that proved nothing. You link an article about Israel where the article itself says 242 is a jumbled mess. You link an excerpt from a 1933 speech from a general...this isn't 1933 and the world is a completely different place. Patrick J. Buchanan is a nut, not only a nut but an isolationist nut so of course he is a "conservative" who is against the war. You give the opinion from another conservative against it, fine, there have been postings from liberals supporting it.

Like I said, this can go on and on. Here is a respected Ph.D. talking about the ethics of going to war with Iraq.

You say it is all about big business. I don't agree and I think it sad people would believe that. I have a bit more faith in the President than that. You and others don't. So be it.

Thanks though, it was some good reading.
posted by Plunge at 12:22 AM on October 14, 2002

...i am looking forward to the no-war-is-justified crowd going apoplectic when this war begins; is over in a few weeks; few american soldiers die; less than 5000 iraqis die (that's probably a saddam hussein quota), and the middle east becomes a better, more peaceful place (particularly as a major source of funding for suicide bombers in israel is cut off).

Sly, selfish and disingenuous: If you're right (as if anything is as simplistic as your assessment/wishful thinking) I'll be sure to miss your triumphal FPP. If you're wrong and it's a catastrophe then the many who disagree with your pathetic hubris will not be here posting childish "told you so's" only for you to flame their treachery.

I can't be bothered to check but I believe there was a time when every Paris post wasn't a mindnumbingly arrogant troll.
posted by niceness at 3:40 AM on October 14, 2002

I have a bit more faith in the President than that. You and others don't. So be it.

Maybe you would like to convince us? Using evidence, how has George W shown that he has the relevant experience/can be trusted in any matter other than lining his own and his friend's pockets?

If you're going to argue that he's misjudged then justify your faith in him.
posted by niceness at 3:45 AM on October 14, 2002

I am looking forward to the no-war-is-justified crowd going apoplectic when this war begins; is over in a few weeks; few American soldiers die; less than 5000 Iraqis die

Only 5,000 innocent people will die? Well why the fuck didn't you say so earlier? Whoopee-fucking-doo. Since it's such a negligible number then maybe we can brush aside 9/11 too since that was fewer innocent lives - and the bomb in Bali? Fucking small fry.

You scientifically pull a casualty number out of your ass that's frighteningly high and then justify it by saying that it's OK cos Saddam would have killed them anyway. So arrogant and so crass.

Of course your argument also conveniently forgets that civilian casualties of the Iraqi regime don't suddenly stop dying because there's a war - if anything I would assume they'd increase.
posted by dodgygeezer at 6:18 AM on October 14, 2002

Plunge: Like I said, this can go on and on. Here is a respected Ph.D. talking about the ethics of going to war with Iraq.

What, exactly, are you smoking? Respected by whom? The article you link is from the Discovery Institute, a Seattle-area right-wing operation. The Discovery Institute, in addition to arguing for Creationism- oh, excuse me, for "intelligent design"- also receives a good deal of funding from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. This foundation is one of the "four sisters" of hard right-wing funding, along with the infamous Scaife foundation.
Now, the apparent scholar who was quoted, Dr. George Weigel, is a "senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center". Hm- the Ethics and Public Policy Center; why, that's yet another right-wing think tank receiving a bulk of their funding from... wait for it... wait for it... wait for it... the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation!
So basically, you linked to an article from a think tank- which is funded heavily by a very right-wing foundation- about a speaker from another think tank funded by that very same right-wing foundation. Wow, now that's credibility! If I ever decide to commit a crime, please remind me to commit it with an accomplice who can vouch for my total innocence when in court...
posted by hincandenza at 7:30 AM on October 14, 2002

Of course your argument also conveniently forgets that civilian casualties of the Iraqi regime don't suddenly stop dying because there's a war - if anything I would assume they'd increase.

somehow I doubt this. I think torture and abuse (of the locals) move to the back burner when the bombs stop falling. In any case, this war will not last more than a week or two, so I don't think Iraqi casualties will be very high. There won't even be time for Saddam et co. to lie about them (although sympathizers outside Iraq may. Actually, I suspect most of the deaths will be Iraqis seeking revenge on Iraqis, but hopefully the US occupation will minimize those.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:39 AM on October 14, 2002

In any case, this war will not last more than a week or two...

Just out of curiosity Paris, do you believe the war in Afghanistan is now over?
posted by niceness at 8:00 AM on October 14, 2002

The 'war' is over in Afghanistan. What remains is sterilization.
posted by blogRot at 8:51 AM on October 14, 2002

No, the war is not over in Afghanistan, even if the most dangerous concentrations of the enemy have been taken out.
But Iraq represents a far different situation. Iraq is a much more advanced, modern place than Afghanistan. It has a coherent government, headed, of course by a mad man; it has a head to cut off, unlike the case in Afghanistan. To use a metaphor, surgery can be perfomed on Iraq much more effectively than Afghanistan.

Blogrot: are you one of those who claims the United States hasn't improved things in Afghanstan?
posted by ParisParamus at 9:20 AM on October 14, 2002

Last post in this thread for me, although it has been interesting. I think the discussion in here has more than proved my point though. The people one side respects, the other derides. What is proof to one, is propaganda to another. There are no unbiased opinions when it comes to Iraq. I and others see it as justified. We see a wonderful future for Iraq and its people. Others don't. They see it as a corporate takeover of Iraq or have some other opinion on it.

I do appreciate the civil discussion though. See all of you in other threads.
posted by Plunge at 10:02 AM on October 14, 2002

I understand how the agtiprop must be wearing on the apologists Plunge.

We see a wonderful future for Iraq and its people. Others don't. They see it as a corporate takeover of Iraq or have some other opinion on it.

Where, pray tell, is your sense of humanity gotten? You don't sentence a population to the inhumanities of a dictator as well as the sanctions stood by, by the most powerful states of the world for 10+ years and suddenly announce that "We see a wonderful future for Iraq". And then declare war on that same country who's people will bear the brunt of an attack.

You and yours don't even see a wonderful future for the Northern Hemisphere let alone lowly Iraq. The net in place that even sees to it that the pathetically few safeties we cling to as far as our diminishing natural environment are concerned for instance aren't even something the Bush Regime is interested in. Why the hell would you, Bush or anybody be all that concerned with a democracy of Iraq. Democracy in Iraq is a lie. The bigger lie is democracy in America.

I might add, capitalism trumps all civil affairs.
posted by crasspastor at 2:10 AM on October 15, 2002

And with that said, the mission of Metafilter was complete, and the site was taken off line and dismantled.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:11 AM on October 15, 2002

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